Selling a Home

closing

Preparing for Your Closing – Checklist

You are getting ready to close on your house, but you realize that you may not be ready. Use this handy checklist to get all of your items ready for closing.

✓ Loan Payoff Information

If you have not already provided this information to your agent, our office will contact you regarding loan information. We will need the loan company, account number and the last 4 digits of your social security number(s).

✓ Prepare for the Home Inspection

The inspection is important for a number of reasons. The buyer will actually spend more time in the home during the inspection than they did during the actual showings. Please have your home in great condition for the inspection. Poorly staged or messy homes can quickly create buyer’s remorse.

✓ Inspection Items

In general, repair requests generated from the inspection will need to be done by a licensed contractor. We will assist in arranging contractors to repair the items.

✓ Receipts

Provide copies of all receipts at least 48 hours prior to the walkthrough to your agent.

✓ Prepare for the Appraisal

Your agent will arrange to meet the Appraiser at your home. Please leave the house in showing condition for the appraiser.

✓ Cancel Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Please cancel effective the day after closing.

✓ Disconnect Utilities

Contact utility companies and arrange for transfer of service. Most companies will ask for the buyer’s name.

✓ Organize manuals

instructions, warranties etc. for the purchaser.

✓ Funds Notification

Let your agent know how you would like your funds.

✓ School records

Arrange to have the school records transferred to your child’s new school district and/or daycare.

✓ Veterinarian records

Arrange to transfer records to your new vet.

✓ Change Address

File a change of address. This can be done online at www.moversguide.usps.com

✓ Double Check House

Decide if you will keep your plants or give them away. Remember that plants cannot be loaded with your household goods.

✓ Remove Hazardous Wastes

Dispose of flammable, corrosive and poisons.

✓ Walk Through

Final Walk Through with Listing Agent.

✓ Confirm Closing

Check with your agent for date, time and location of closing.

✓ Photo ID

Bring valid Photo Id-Driver’s license or Passport is preferred.

✓ Keys and Garage Door Openers

Bring all keys, the garage door openers to closing.

Please do not leave items in the house you do not want or you do not know what to do with.

showings

Preparing for Showings – Checklist

Because first impressions are so important, it is essential that your home is in “show-ready” condition for each and every showing. Although it can be daunting at first, if you use this quick and easy checklist, you will have your home sparkling in no time. To make it even easier, get your family involved. Assign some of these tasks to other family members to do each morning so that you are prepared for any last minute showing.
Here is your checklist to run through before every showing:

✓ Open drapes, shades, blinds

✓ Turn on lights to make your home look bright and cheerful.

✓ Pick up shoes, toys and any other items that might be scattered around.

✓ Put any dirty dishes in the dishwasher and close it.

✓ Empty all trash.

✓ Wipe down all counter tops and tables.

✓ Make all beds.

✓ Run the vacuum.

✓ Put away all clothes.

✓ Make sure all dirty clothes are out of sight.

✓ Make sure rooms smell good, spray a deodorizer if necessary.

✓ Make sure any medications are out of sight.

✓ Turn oven on to 250 degrees. Put a small amount of vanilla extract on a piece of foil into the oven. This will simulate the smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Yummy!

✓ Turn off all televisions. You can play soft music at a low volume in the background only.

✓ Make sure all papers, mail, bills and other confidential materials are out of sight.

✓ Secure any jewelry, cash or other valuables.

✓ Adjust the temperature; make sure your home is warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

selling

Preparing for Selling – Checklist

Getting ready to sell your home can be an overwhelming task. There are things that a Realtor needs to know about your home in order to list your home with optimum efficiency and effectiveness. This information assists with pricing, communication, entering data into the MLS, generating a Comparable Market Analysis and scheduling showings. This step must come first prior to scheduling the photo shoot and marketing of your home.
Please gather this information and provide this to us as soon as possible.

✓ Home Documentation

    • Blueprints
    • Plat maps
    • Warranties
    • Schematics
    • Manuals
    • Survey
    • Improvement Location Certificate ILC

✓ Loan Information

    • Loan Company
    • Payoff Amount

✓ Contact Information for all Owners

    • Names, email and phone numbers

✓ HOA information

    • HOA contact information

✓ Appraisals

    • Any past appraisals

✓ Security System

    • Access codes for security system and system lease agreement

✓ Property tax information

    • Copy of your most recent tax information

✓ Utility Bills

    • Average utility bills for previous 12 months

✓ Special Features

    • Complete list of special features of your home

✓ Upgrades/Improvements

    • List of all improvements you have made to the property

✓ Keys

    • 2 sets of keys to the property
candles-stjoes

St. Joseph Statues and Other Tips To Make Your Home Sell Faster

In the world of real estate, superstitions abound.

Perhaps driven by sheer desperation, say, a house that’s been on the market for months and just won’t sell, or a home that’s in less-than-optimal condition, real estate agents and homeowners alike have been known to take some drastic measures.

Take, for example, the legend of St. Joseph. Over the years, St. Joseph has become the patron saint of real estate. Have a home that won’t sell? Simply head online, purchase a St. Joseph statue –they’re available for $9.95 –and wait for it to arrive in the mail. Once it shows up, you simply bury it in the yard, or, in a pot, if you’re in a condo or don’t have a yard, and wait for the statue to do its work. Some say that the statue can help a home to sell much faster than it would otherwise. Others insist that it can even help to ensure a competitive price, no matter what the current state of the housing market.

Different sources recommend varying methods for burying the statue. Here’s a look at a few common, yet conflicting, instructions on where, and how to bury St. Joseph:

  • Upside down, near the ‘For Sale’ sign
  • Right side up
  • In the backyard
  • Lying on its back, pointing towards the house
  • Facing the house
  • Facing away from the house
  • Three feet away from the rear of the house
  • Exactly 12 inches deep

Once the home is sold, proponents say that the statue should be unburied, and given a place of honor in the new home.

While opinions vary widely on the effectiveness of this approach, it’s worth noting that, as is the case with many things, it seems to work best for those who are already convinced of the statue’s effectiveness.

But while there are believers, there are skeptics too, among them, Eckerd College student Aidan Murphy.

When Murphey’s father got a new job in Michigan and the family relocated, they buried a statue of Joseph at their home. Eight years later, though, the house has plunged in value but still hasn’t sold.

“My mom says, ‘St. Joseph doesn’t like us,’” Murphy recounts, “I personally think it’s because it’s a piece of plastic, and it is the home market system crashing in 2008 that has caused our misfortune.”

It’s also interesting to note that some of the websites that sell these statues also offer a complimentary home listing on their site, free with every purchase.

Other Myths and Legends

But it’s not just St. Joseph statues that are being used to sell homes, there’s a host of other superstitions that people hold to that influence their home buying, and selling decisions.

Take, for example, clients –or real estate agents who refuse to look at homes where someone has died. Or, what about prospective buyers who refuse to buy a home during certain astrological time periods? Then there’s the issue of numbers, with ‘13’ being a house or apartment number that many people will avoid. Some real estate agents will even try to avoid the number 13 popping up in an asking price, taking care to avoid listing prices of say, $113,000 or $213,000. Likewise, hotels and apartments will often skip the 13th floor altogether. Chinese buyers, on the other hand, are often leery of the number ‘4’, since this number is considered to be bad luck. On the other hand, ‘8’ is considered to be very lucky in Chinese culture.

Tips for Helping Your Home Sell Faster

Legends aside, though, there are a few things that every homeowner, or real estate agent, can do to help a home to sell faster. With this in mind, let’s have a look at a few proven ways to make a home more attractive to potential buyers.

  • Make Necessary Repairs and Upgrades-The first step towards ensuring that a home will sell faster, and for a more competitive price, is making all necessary repairs and upgrades. This means patching any holes in walls, replacing broken door knobs, and upgrading any worn out carpeting. This isn’t the time to do a complete remodel in the home, but making small yet important repairs and upgrades can have a significant difference when it comes to helping a home to sell more easily.
  • Clean, Clean, Clean-Next, you’ll want to ensure that the home is as clean as possible. This means clearing up anything that’s sitting around, and packing away many personal knickknacks –ensuring that countertops and other surfaces are clear and clean. In the same way, ensure that the outside is clean as well. Tidy up the yard, trim back bushes, clean the porch, and cut the grass.
  • Give It a Fresh Coat of Paint-Giving the walls a fresh coat of tasteful, neutral paint can help a home to feel lighter, cleaner, and more open. It will also help potential buyers to envision the rooms as their own.
  • Consider Staging-Staging a property is a vital, yet often-overlooked step in the sales process. This will help the home to look best in its photos, and also make it more appealing to prospective buyers who view the property in person. To stage your home, you can enlist the services of a professional home stager, or stage the home yourself. Important steps for staging include using smaller furniture to help the rooms feel bigger, removing all personal effects, and strategically placing art and accessories to add glamour and style to a room. You should also ensure that there’s adequate lighting, and make sure the fixtures are clean and up-to-date.
  • Pay Attention to the Kitchen-The kitchen is one of the most valuable rooms in a house. It is worth the most per square foot. Oftentimes, the kitchen can help to make or break a home buying decision. If your kitchen is in need of an upgrade, consider refacing your cabinetry, rather than replacing the entire cabinets themselves. Decluttering all of the surfaces, and placing a bowl of fruit or fresh flowers on the table can also help to add a fresh new look to your space.
  • Post Plenty of Pictures-According to a study by Trulia, listings with more than six pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers, compared with listings with fewer than six pictures. Including plenty of pictures on your home listing is always a good idea –just make sure your photos look professional. Throw open the curtains to let in plenty of natural light, and make sure there’s no stray clutter or unmade beds in any of the photos.
  • Throw in Some Freebies-We all know about closing cost credits, but including some free items is another way to help to sweeten the deal, and differentiate your home from others on the market. Freebies like stainless steel kitchen appliances or a flat-screen TV are things that most potential buyers will appreciate.
  • Post Your Listing on Facebook-Facebook can help to facilitate connections, and it’s worth sharing your home on this social network as well. If you have 100-200 friends and your friends each have100-200, think of the potential to get the word out about your home.
  • Choose the Best Time to Sell-Before you list your home, think about the time of year that you’re selling. Your best chance of selling quickly is listing your property during a season when buyer demand is high. Spring is traditionally one of the best times to sell, and the market’s usually busy with potential buyers. Many families try to time their new home purchase with the end of the academic year at school, and the better weather will also help your home to look its best. Winter is often regarded as a difficult season to sell, if you’re planning a winter sale, you may want to consider putting your home on the market in the New Year, rather than during the holidays when people’s minds are on other things.
  • Price the Home Accurately-Finally, the most important factor when it comes to selling a home in a timely manner, is finding an accurate price point for it. The best way to set a realistic price for your home is by enlisting the services of local real estate agents. In some cases, an agent won’t even charge for a simple evaluation, and it may be worth checking with a few different agents to see which type of pricing they come up with. Remember: the highest valuations won’t necessarily equate with a quick sale. You can also check websites Zillow and Trulia for historical sold price data, to get an idea of what yours can sell for. Your goal is to find a price that will make your home appealing to buyers in the current housing market.

Finally, if you’re having trouble selling your home, and considering using a St. Joseph statue to sell your home, perhaps you’d be better served by seeking out a professional real estate agent. Real estate agents may not be patron saints, but they are experienced with selling homes and could be your secret to selling a lot faster.

For more information on home sales in Springs Colorado, contact Springs Homes today. We will work hard to help your home sell as quickly as possible, for a competitive price. You may also want to have a look at our guide to getting your home ready to sell.

Additional Resources:

Home Selling Myths: By Xavier De Buck

Preparing Your Home for a Quick Fall Sale: By Paul Sian

10 Really Smart Ideas About Selling A Home By Lynn Pineda

inspection

What You Need to Know About Appraisals

Congratulations, you have finally found the house you wanted! But you should ask yourself one question before signing all the paperwork, is the house you are planning to buy really worth the money you will invest? Can’t decide?

The asking price on the house is an amount which your lender has already approved, so you probably won’t have any issues with the mortgage. Actually, this is not always true, and there are instances in which you can have an issue getting a mortgage if the investment is not worth the approved amount. In such a case, the lender will provide you with a lower loan amount or none at all.

The situation may seem a bit complex, but this is exactly why you need a mortgage appraisal. Once you go through this process, you will find out the true worth of your house to be, and accordingly, you can make a decision on whether the purchase is a smart decision or not.

A home appraisal is a process in which an expert evaluates the house, performs a thorough analysis and then determines the worth of the home. The appraiser is hired by the lender through an Appraisal Management Company or the AMC, but you will have to bear the costs. Once the results have been prepared, they are reviewed, and accordingly, the deal is finalized.

The lender orders an appraisal when you have a house ‘under contract’. Your Realtor will establish a value of the house by performing a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA.  Negotiation is carried out on the offer and a written contract is prepared. If this is accepted, it is sent to your lender, who then gets in touch with an AMC and appoints an appraiser.

Purpose of an Appraisal

The main purpose of a mortgage appraisal is to determine the value of the house which you plan to buy. The process does incur fees, and you will have to pay them, but you should still get a home appraisal conducted considering the magnitude of the overall investment. By doing so, you will know that you are not paying an unfair amount of the property. Your lender will also be sure that they are not lending you excessive amounts, which may eventually lead to a foreclosure should you default on the mortgage.

In other words, a mortgage appraisal protects both you and the lender by ensuring that the deal you are about to finalize is indeed, worth the invested amount.

Types of Appraisals

A mortgage appraisal can be conducted by many methods, but two of them are popular. One is the sales comparison approach and the other is the cost approach.

The Sales Comparison Approach

In this method, the appraiser will compare the home with a number of other homes that are of the same size and located in the same locality. These are referred to as the comps or the comparables.  While comparing, many factors are considered such as the area, amounts of finished and unfinished space, age of the house, design features, kitchen styles, garages, fireplaces, and so on.

The Cost Approach

The Cost Approach method is primarily used to appraise new property. The appraiser will figure out an amount which will be required for reconstructing the home if it was completely destroyed. The analysis is also based on other things such as depreciation and land value. Accordingly, an appraiser determines the true worth of the house.

The Appraisal Process

When you decide the house which you want to buy, you get it under contract. This means that your Realtor performs a Market Comparative Analysis or CMA, and determines the value of the property. Using this, an offer is made and negotiated, and then a written contract is prepared. Once accepted, this is sent to your lender who then orders an appraisal through an AMC.

The appraiser will then visit the home to initiate the process. During that time, your presence is not mandatory but is still recommended so that you can get better insight.

Here are the main steps of the process.

  • The appraiser will perform a visual inspection of the home and assess its condition. He will note down details such as the construction quality, number of rooms, floor plan and the design. If there is any need of repairs or improvements, you will be notified and also provided with an estimate of the costs involved.
  • The appraiser will take photos of the property for record purposes, and conduct necessary measurements of the floors.
  • The appraiser will analyze the neighboring area and if any amenities are located nearby such as a park, shopping mall or hospital, they will determine their influence on the home’s worth.
  • The appraiser will get in touch with the local planning department or another governmental body, and determine the zoning rules and taxes for the property. This information can be used for figuring out the highest and best use, which serves as critical data in the home mortgage appraisal process.
  • All appraisers have access to a lot of data, which they get from agents and brokers. Using these resources, an appraiser will determine the average value of homes in the locality and go through recent sales report. In this step, the MLS and legal data of your chosen home is also reviewed.
  • The appraiser will then use any of the above methods to determine the worth of the home and will prepare a report. This will include a summary of the method, a review of the house’s conditions and the improvements that were carried out. The report will also contain details of problems such as cracked foundations and wet basements, a summary of market trends and their effect on the property and a complete analysis that will support the results. Maps, sketches, and photographs are also included for reference.
  • A copy of the report is sent to the lender.

The Appraisal Outcome

A home appraisal can have two results; the asking price is equal to or less than the appraised value or the asking price is more than the appraised value.

In the former case, the sale can proceed as per the plan. But what if the appraised value is lower than the amount which the seller demands? Should this be the case, the lender will not provide you with a big enough loan.

There are a number of options which you can take to deal with such a situation.

  • Negotiate with the seller and convince him to drop the price.
  • Pay the difference in amount yourself.
  • Have another appraiser go through the process one more time.
  • Forget about that home and search for another one.
inspection2

Your Inspection Rights and Approximate Costs

Finding that perfect home can be quite the task, but getting under contract begins a whole other process. Now that you and the sellers have agreed on a price, you would be wise to order a home inspection. Your Realtor can help by providing several choices for an inspector.

As a Buyer, you have the right to an inspection of the property prior to closing.  Once inspected, you then have the right to object to any conditions that are brought to your attention.  You may either ask the seller to fix them, or you may terminate the contract.  It’s important to know what to look for because, after closing, you own any problems with the property.  What many buyers don’t know is just how many inspections are available.   Below is a list of options you may want to consider before you close. Your choices will depend on the age, condition, and location of the home. Let’s cover just a few.

Home Inspection

The purpose of the home inspection is to determine the condition of your home. One usually runs between $300-$400. Price is based on age and size of your home and is pretty much a top to bottom inspection of the home. Be sure to ask your inspector what they include in the overall package.

Radon Test

The purpose of the radon test is to determine if your home has unsafe levels of radon gas within it. It is worth the extra money to determine if there are unsafe levels of radon seeping in from the ground. This test usually runs $130 and takes over 48 hours to complete.

Sewer Line Scope

The purpose of this test is to see if sewer lines are obstructed, cracked or outdated. You will want to make sure the line is working properly as the cost to repair and tap into the city main line can be very expensive. This test usually runs about $150 and most plumbers will provide a digital recording as your proof that it is working properly.

Lead-Based Paint Assessment

This test is a good idea for homes built prior to 1978 due to the fact that paint manufactured during that time contained lead. Lead poisoning could be potentially fatal to young children if swallowed. A test usually runs $300.

Meth Lab Test

If you think that your home was used to manufacture methamphetamine or it was disclosed to you that this has occurred, it is a good idea to order this test. One usually runs $600 for whole house or $1000 for specific area testing.

Mold Test

You can also see if your home contains dangerous mold which can form in basements or bathrooms and kitchens due to the high moisture content in those areas. This type of test usually runs $300.

The list of tests goes on but these are the most common and will address some major issues. Be sure to check with your lender if you are financing as they may be required in some cases. The main thing is to protect your investment and your family. You will be glad you spent the extra dollars should something be discovered that could be very expensive to repair.

*prices above are an estimate and may vary

rocks

Everything You Need to Know About Radon

You’ve found your home, you’ve written an offer, it’s been accepted and you are “Under Contract”. Now it’s time to find out what the real condition of this property is. In order to accomplish this you are going to want to do a Property Inspection. When you schedule the inspection, you should be asked to decide if you want the inspector to perform a radon test. In all but the rarest cases the answer should be yes.

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring, inert, odorless, colorless, radioactive gas. It is formed by the radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water. So, without a test, there is no way to know if your home has it.

What does it do?

Radon is right behind cigarettes as the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is associated with 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States annually.

Here is a good description, written by the National Cancer Institute of what Radon does to cause cancer.

Radon decays quickly, giving off tiny radioactive particles. When inhaled, these radioactive particles can damage the cells that line the lung. Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer, the only cancer proven to be associated with inhaling radon. There has been a suggestion of increased risk of leukemia associated with radon exposure in adults and children; however, the evidence is not conclusive.

Radon is actually a controversial topic and while there are many credible sources that question the effects radon has on human beings, the evidence and research that it is harmful is too overwhelming for us to ignore, especially when representing home buyers. Here is a list of organizations that state Radon is a health threat:

      • U.S. Surgeon General
      • American Medical Association
      • American Lung Association
      • Centers for Disease Control
      • National Cancer Institute
      • National Academy of Sciences
      • Environmental Protection Agency

Testing and Measuring

Here’s the science of radon, levels are measured and talked about in terms of “Picocuries” this is an international unit of radioactivity that is defined as 1 Ci = 3.7×1010 decays per second. This is approximately the activity of 1 gram of the radium isotope 226Ra, a substance studied by the pioneers of radiology, Pierre and Marie Curie, for whom the unit was named.

The important number to remember for the purposes of radon in a home is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). This is the number above which the EPA recommends mitigation.

It’s important to note that we often hear about higher acceptable levels in other countries, the point being the US is “unreasonably” low. This might be the case but as far as the United States is concerned 4 pCi/L is the magic number.

Testing for Radon is important, especially here along the front range because radon is prevalent in the entire State of Colorado but especially high right here in El Paso County.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produces a “Radon Map”. This map categorizes areas into three zones to assess radon potential. All of El Paso County is in “Zone 1”

  • Zone 1- Highest Potential: These are counties that have a predicted average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter)
  • Zone 2- Moderate Potential: These are counties that have a predicted average indoor radon screening level between 2 and 4 pCi/L
  • Zone 3- Low Potential: These are counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level less than 2 pCi/L

The criteria used to develop this assessment are as follows:

      1. Indoor radon measurements
      2. Geology
      3. Aerial radioactivity
      4. Soil permeability
      5. Foundation type

As far as testing methods are concerned, most certified home inspectors will use a handful of different testing methods. Some require post inspection processing therefore requiring a wait to see the results. It’s important to keep track of your inspection deadlines, you don’t want to end up with elevated radon levels but ask for mitigation after your inspection objection deadline.

How does radon get into a house

The primary entry point for radon into the home is through the foundation. If you have a basement, the gas can seep through small cracks and voids in the slab. Crawl Spaces are generally left uncovered thus providing no barrier for radon gases. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water.

Mitigation

There are a handful of different methods used to mitigate radon from a home. The most popular method here along the front range of Colorado is Active soil depressurization (ASD).

Active soil depressurization (ASD) essentially keeps radon gas from entering the home by changing the pressure differential, essentially depressurizing the force that pushes the gas from below the foundation slab or crawlspace into the home. Radon is drawn from beneath the slab by an exhaust fan that vents the radon gas through a PVC pipe up and over the roof of the home to the outdoor air where it dilutes into the atmosphere.

It’s important that radon mitigation systems vent above the properties roof. Since radon gas is heavier than air the possibility exists that the gas can be picked up and redistributed through the homes HVAC system. By venting above the roof the concentration of gas falls off significantly before it has the opportunity to be reintroduced.

It’s important to note that the active soil depressurization system is a separate system and is not related to your homes HVAC or any other system except that it draws a slight low voltage feed from your electric system. So, the cost to operate an ASD system is low as well. The system fans typically use 90 watts per fan. The cost to operate one of these units is approximately $25 to $45 per year.

The cost of installation varies based on the size of the home and the type of foundation. Here along the front Range of Colorado, systems run from $800 on the low end to $2,500 on the high end. Newer homes with perimeter drains tend to be easier for installation of mitigation systems and therefore cost less.

We test for radon during the inspection because it’s generally something we want the seller to pay for. In some cases the buyer may be willing to accept the cost of mitigation, this generally has to do with the purchase price and terms.

If the seller ends up installing the system it’s important to get documentation about who installed the system what the numbers look like on the retest and what the warranty is. All of this should be wrapped up prior to closing.

Frequently Asked Questions about radon:

Can radon levels change over time?

    • Yes, changes in temperature, Moisture and Dryness can cause the uranium levels to rise which results in an increase in radon levels. If the ground around your home becomes saturated, frozen or covered with snow, it keeps the radon in the ground not allowing it to escape. Wind can also change the pressure around your home, which could cause radon to diffuse into your home. It is recommended not to test during severe weather or high winds.

How often should we test?

    • If you have a system in your homes the EPA and IEMA recommend that you test every two years. How long do Mitigation Systems Last? Usually, the manufacturer warrants the fan for 5 years. The national average for the life of a fan is 11 years. Some last as long as 20 years.

Should we test for radon if a mitigation system is present?

    • Yes, if it has been 2 years since it was installed.

What is the cost of operating a mitigation system?

    • $25-$45 a year.

What is a Picocurie?

    • This is an international unit of radioactivity that is defined as 1 Ci = 3.7×1010 decays per second. This is approximately the activity of 1 gram of the radium isotope 226Ra, a substance studied by the pioneers of radiology, Pierre Curie and Marie, for whom the unit was named.

What’s the fastest way to test?

      • The quickest way to test is with a short-term test. These kits remain in your home for two days to 90 days, depending on the device.
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The Great 8 Real Estate Articles From September, 2017

There is a lot of real estate content and chatter online. This makes it difficult to determine what is valuable and what is noise. Well good news, we read a ton of real estate content to stay on top of the industry. At the end of the Month, we compile the best articles we could find.

This month we present eight informative pieces. These articles look at issues important to home buyers, homes sellers, and Realtors.

We hope you enjoy this collection. Please feel free to share this content and suggest future articles.

How Does Dual Agency Work? By Bill Gassett

What is dual agency? This is a question that Real Estate leader Bill Gassett tackles, along with plenty of examples to illustrate each principle. Dual agency is when a real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction, and Gassett makes it clear why this arrangement benefits only the agent. Since they’re legally bound to be neutral to both parties, there are many important questions they can’t answer or advise on, to the great detriment of both parties. There are also realtors who don’t follow the law when it comes to dual agency, and Gassett provides a thorough outline of what to watch for and how to protect yourself from situations like these.

Smart Renovations by Kevin Vitali

Realtor Kevin Vitali explains the crucial importance of thinking ahead before beginning any kind of home renovation, and considering the impact it will have on your home’s value. He highlights the value of avoiding trends, staying within a budget, getting the right permits for large projects, and hiring a professional if a project is outside your personal skill level. Since the major purpose of such improvements is often to increase the future selling value of a house, he advises focusing on your home’s value after a renovation, and suggests consulting with a realtor before beginning.

How to Improve Your Credit Score by Luke Skar

There’s no magic formula to improve your credit score overnight. However, Luke Skar shares some helpful tips on how to set yourself up for credit score success in the long run. His valuable suggestions include advice on how many credit cards to hold at a time, the value of debt diversity, and the potential benefits of enlisting the help of a credit repair agency. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve upon low credit scores from the past, this article is a great place to begin.

Converting Real Estate Leads to Sales by Joy Bender

In this comprehensive blog post, Joy Bender shares everything real estate agents need to know about obtaining and converting quality leads. She begins by stating some statistics about the great difficulty realtors have in gaining access to good leads, and goes on to provide solid, actionable solutions to this challenge. She shares technical information about different services and ads you can run in order to generate leads and what they’ll cost you, and then delves into her tried-and-true methods for pursuing and converting these leads. Finding great leads is a challenge all realtors face, so this is a helpful, applicable article to realtors of all ranges of experience.

26 Tips To Let Your Home Sell Itself by Wendy Weir

There isn’t a home seller out there who wouldn’t love to determine the selling price of their home. However, the final number comes down to the buyers, and their perception of the home. That’s why Real Estate Agent Wendy Weir shares this list of 26 insightful tips about staging that can help your home sell more quickly and easily. From how to decorate the top of your fridge to why you should replace attic insulation, she tackles a variety of points that the average home seller may not have thought of—points that may just be the ticket to them selling their house at a great price.

Preparing Your Home for A Quick Fall Sale by Paul Sian

The prime home selling and buying season depends on the area. For many regions, fall is not the peak time for residential real estate activity; however, the buyers who are active during this period tend to be more serious and eager to move quickly. That’s why Luxury Real Estate Specialist Paul Sian shares his best tips to ensure a quick fall home sale. From renovations and decor to pricing, this article contains insight into the major factors that fall home sellers should consider to set themselves up for a successful sale. Anyone who’s looking to ensure a quick fall home sale is sure to find this article to be a great starting point.

Don’t Be Left In the Dark When Buying Your First Home by Maria Mastrolonardo

The decision to purchase a house is a major one, especially if you’re a first time home buyer. For those who are new to the real estate market, this informative article by Realtor Maria Mastrolonardo is a smart place to begin. She covers a variety of topics step by step, in order to help any first time home buyer decide if they’re ready to commit to the purchase of a home, and brings up the subjects they must consider, from credit scores to budgets.

Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes by Kyle Hiscock

First-time home buyers have a lot to think about! Realtor Kyle Hiscock shares his top tips for avoiding common pitfalls that people purchasing a home for the first time often encounter. He warns against going directly to the listing agent and explains why online home value estimates are not always accurate, among five other major topics. Any first-time home buyer will appreciate Hiscock’s insights into the process of purchasing a house, from what to remember to what to avoid.

We hope have enjoyed reading these articles as we did finding them. If you did, please use the Social Share icon below to let your friends know and check back next month for another collection of the best real estate content the internet has to offer.

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Understanding Your Relationship with your Broker-Seller Agency

So you are ready to put your house on the market. What’s next?

You have decisions to make. Do I want an advocate looking out for my interests as I sell my home, or do I just want someone to handle the paperwork? This is the most important question to ask yourself as you begin the process of selling your home. You’ll want to understand the different types of real estate broker relationships you might choose, and even MORE important, the duties and responsibilities on your behalf that those relationships require.

The Role of Your Agent

There are several types of relationships between you as a seller and your real estate broker, but the most basic comparison is between Transaction Broker and Seller Agency. A Transaction Broker works with one or more of the parties to meet all the legal requirements of the transfer of property from one party to another, without an advocacy role for either party. Seller Agency is a relationship designed to provide expert help with not just the paperwork, but with guarding your interests regarding the process, price, marketing strategy, and offer negotiation.

If you are looking for a real estate professional to assess the current market, offer advice on the best ways to present your house in that marketplace, and get that house sold as quickly as possible for the highest possible value, you are looking for a Seller’s agent.

Springs Homes Managing Broker Jennifer Boylan recently met with a couple interested in selling their home. The couple had interviewed several brokers for the job. This particular home was in a price range just below the median price for Colorado Springs, a very popular price range.

This home was VERY outdated and other brokers had advised the sellers to update the big money rooms like the kitchen and baths. Jennifer, on the other hand, advised the sellers to do nothing. she felt like the home was going to sell fast because of the condition and price.

Jennifer knew it would most likely sell to an investor or somebody who wanted to remodel to their own tastes. Jennifer’s take was to go ahead and sell it as is, don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars updating when the potential buyer will probably end up tearing stuff out and redoing it anyway.

This advice got Jennifer the listing which sold the first day at significantly higher than asking price.If she had not been an advocate for the sellers, she couldn’t have given this opinion.

Seller Agency

Seller Agency in Colorado is spelled out like this: A seller’s agent (or listing agent) works solely on behalf of the seller to promote the interests of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the seller. The seller’s agent must disclose to potential buyers all adverse material facts actually known by the seller’s agent about the property. A separate written listing agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the seller.

Springs Homes Associate Broker Brooke Mitchell recently had a listing that perfectly illustrates the power of Seller Agency. Brooke now admits that the home was priced a little high, against her initial advice. The home sellers were moving into a market that was significantly more expensive than ours and they really needed to maximize their profits.

After the home had been on the market for just over a month, the sellers choose to do a $10,000 price reduction. They had gotten nervous about their timeline and anxious to get on to their new life.

This price reduction brought an offer, unfortunately, the offer was significantly lower than asking price. As a Seller’s Agent Brooke knew that there wasn’t much inventory in this price range, so they were able to push the price back up in a counter-proposal.

As the inspection process got underway, polybutylene plumbing was discovered. The buyer’s inspector recommended replacement of all of the plumbing due to a class-action lawsuit. Because Brooke was a Seller’s Agent, she was able to meet with the buyer and plumber at the property. The plumber was very knowledgeable and reasonable, so Brooke was able to convey the opinion as a Seller’s Agent that complete replacement wasn’t necessary. The buyer agreed to future repairs on their own. Brooke also met with the septic company at the house in order to be aware of any possible repairs (none needed in this case). The buyer also claimed the dishwasher didn’t work. Brooke also went to the house and displayed all functions to the buyer on behalf of a moved-away seller.

As a Transaction Broker there was very little she could have done on these items. On the other hand, as a Seller’s Agent, she was able to help the seller get a higher sales price, and complete fewer unnecessary repairs, netting them much more in the end.

What is Dual Agency?

Your listing agent will act on your behalf alone. If a potential buyer inquires about your home, the agent will disclose their relationship with you as the seller. Some states allow a relationship called “dual agency.” Dual agency allows for an agent to serve on behalf of both buyer and seller. While it is possible to advocate for both, dual agency creates an obvious potential for conflict. So rather than leaving you wondering whose side they are on, Colorado real estate transaction law does not allow for one agent to hold both a seller and buyer agency relationship within one transaction.

Since the State of Colorado does not allow Dual Agency, we have included a thorough examination on the subject by Bill Gassett entitled: Dual Agency, Why Avoid It.

So what exactly is a transaction broker relationship? The Colorado Real Estate Manual puts it this way:

“Under Colorado law, a broker is presumed to be a transaction-broker unless a single agency relationship is created by a written agreement between the broker and the party. A transaction-broker means a broker who assists one or more parties throughout a contemplated real estate transaction with communication, interposition, advisement, negotiation, contract terms and the closing of such real estate transaction without being an agent or advocate for the interests of any party to such transaction.”

There might be instances where you would choose the transaction-broker relationship. But for the intricacies of listing a home, marketing and advocating on your behalf, a seller’s agent relationship provides you a value-added service.

Want to learn more about the market in your neighborhood? Wondering if now’s the right time to put your house on the market? Contact Springs Homes – let us know your needs and how we can be of service.

Additional Seller Agency Resources:

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Real Estate Contract Dates & Deadlines

In residential real estate, the Contract to Buy & Sell can be a bit confusing for first-timers, especially because it’s 19 pages long. The dates & deadlines of the real estate contract are covered even before the sales price. If you understand what those dates mean, you will understand 75% of the contract. There are 36 possible deadlines, but you usually don’t use all of them.  You can find an example of the current deadline chart at the end of this blog.

Item No. 1 – Alternative Earnest Money Deadline

This is the date that your Earnest Money deposit must be turned in to either the Brokerage or Title Company. The next 7 dates are on the Title Policy.

Item No. 2 – Record Title Deadline

This is the deadline in which the Title Company must provide the Buyer, a current commitment for an owner’s title insurance policy. This will consist of copies of any plats, declarations, covenants, conditions & restrictions burdening the property. And copies of any other documents listed in the Schedule of Exceptions in the Title Commitment that was furnished to the Buyer.

Item No. 3 – Record Title Objection

The Buyer can object to the Record Title Deadline here. This can be based on any unsatisfactory title condition, in the Buyers sole discretion.

Item No. 4 – Off-Record Title Deadline

The Buyer must receive, on or before this deadline, true copies of all existing surveys in the Seller’s possession pertaining to the Property and must disclose to Buyer all easements, liens or other title matters not shown by public records, of which the Seller has actual knowledge.

Item No. 5 – Off-Record Title Objection

This is similar to the Record Title Objection. The Buyer can object & terminate if unsatisfied with documents provided in item No.4.

Item No. 6 – Title Resolution Deadline

This is the date on which all title objections must be resolved.

Item No. 7 – Right of First Refusal

This date applies to situations, where an outside entity, like an HOA, has to approve a Buyer’s contract. If the entity who holds this right, disapproves the contract, the contract terminates.

Item No. 8 – Association Documents Deadline

The Listing Agent typically handles this for the Seller. This is the deadline for which the Buyer must receive all current HOA documents. This is VERY important for Buyers to review, especially in Townhome or Condo Communities. This is where buyers can find pet, design, parking, and many other rules and restrictions.

Item No. 9 – Association Documents Objection Deadline

The Buyer has the right to terminate on or before this deadline, based on any unsatisfactory provisions in the HOA docs.

Item No. 10 – Sellers Property Disclosure Deadline

Sellers typically complete this document before listing their home for sale. This is the Sellers disclosure on any issues or improvements that they have any knowledge of pertaining to the home. There is no objection for this because it’s simply a disclosure. The Buyer will have their own inspections to get the current facts on the property.

Item No 11 – Loan Application  Deadline

This is pretty self-explanatory. Buyers have usually gone through this process before submitting an offer. It’s the deadline in which the Buyer must submit a full loan application to the lender.

Item No. 12 – Loan Objection Deadline

This contract is conditional upon the Buyer determining, in Buyers sole discretion, whether the new loan is satisfactory. This includes payments, interest rate, terms, conditions, and cost. This deadline is for the sole benefit of the Buyer.

Item No. 13 – Buyers Credit Information Deadline

In the case of owner carry financing, this deadline applies to the Buyer supplying the Seller with financials, a credit report, etc…

Item No. 14 – Disapproval of Buyer’s Credit Information Deadline

This is the Seller’s opportunity to decline the Buyer based on the information provided.

Item No. 15 – Existing Loan Documents Deadline

This is only applicable for assumptions; by this deadline, the Seller must provide all current loan documents to the Buyer for review.

Item No. 16 – Existing Loan Documents Deadline

Once the Buyer receives the Seller’s current loan information, they have the right to review the terms and object or decline.

Item No. 17 – Loan Transfer Approval Deadline

This only applies to assumptions; this final deadline applies to the lender approving the assumption.

Item No. 18 – Seller of Private Financing Deadline

This deadline applies if any portion of the financing of the transaction is by private or seller financing. The Buyer must decide by this date if the financing being offered is acceptable.

Item No. 19 – Appraisal Deadline

This is the date in which the Buyer must receive an appraisal of the property. It’s probably best for the Buyer Agent to communicate with the lender as the deadline approaches because appraisers tend to be behind during the busy season. This does not apply to VA loans.

Item No. 20 – Appraisal Objection Deadline

Either the appraisal matches the price or it doesn’t. By this deadline, the Buyer must submit in writing that the valuation is less than the purchase price. At this point, a couple of things can occur: a) the Seller can come down in price to match the valuation; b) the Buyer can bring the difference in cash or c) the Contract can terminate.

Item No. 21 – Appraisal Resolution Deadline

If there is an appraisal objection, the issue must be resolved by this date or the contract terminates.

Item No. 22 – New ILC or New Survey Deadline

An Improvement Location Certificate or Survey is usually only ordered if the lender requires it, or if the Buyer has questions as to where the exact property lines are. The Buyer must receive either document by the deadline.

Item No. 23 – New ILC or New Survey Objection Deadline

The date when the Seller must receive a written description of any matter that is unsatisfactory and the Buyer requires the Seller to correct.

Item No 24 – New ILC or New Survey Resolution Deadline

If there is an ILC or Survey objection, the issue must be resolved by this date or the contract terminates.

Item No. 25 – Inspection Objection

The Buyer must have all home inspections completed by this date. Seller must receive a written description of any unsatisfactory physical condition that the Buyer requires the Seller to correct.

Item No. 26 – Inspection Resolution Deadline

If an objection is received by the Buyer, the Seller has until this date to respond in writing, addressing the Buyers repair requests. The Buyer has to agree to the terms or the contract terminates.

Item No. 27 – Property Insurance Objection Deadline

Prior to this date, the Buyer must obtain as many bids as they’d like for home owner’s insurance. If the insurance does not meet their satisfaction, they must terminate in writing by this deadline.

Item No. 28 – Due Diligence Documents Delivery Deadline

If the box is checked, the Seller agrees to deliver copies of the requested documents pertaining to the property. This can include any leases, completed contract work, warranties, permits, etc.

Item No. 29 – Due Diligence Documents Objection Deadline

If the Due Diligence Documents are not supplied to the Buyer or are unsatisfactory, the Buyer can terminate or Object. If the Buyer Objects, they must deliver a written description of unsatisfactory documents that they require the Seller to correct.

Item No. 30 – Due Diligence Documents Resolution Deadline

If there is a Due Diligence Document Objection, the issues must be resolved by this date.

Item No. 31 – Conditional Sale Deadline

If the Buyer has a property to sell before they can complete the purchase, list that property here. If it is not sold and closed by this date the Buyer may terminate.

Item No. 32 – Closing Date

This is when the Seller delivers the deed to the Buyer. The Closing date is specified here or by mutual agreement. The hour and place will usually be designated by all parties.

Item No. 33 and No. 34 – Possession Date and Time

This is when the Buyer gets keys and the Seller is no longer allowed to enter the property at their own discretion. This usually occurs at closing.

Item No. 35 and No. 36 – Acceptance Deadline Date and Time

This is the day and time in which the Buyer requires the Seller to respond to their offer. If the Seller is countering, a new deadline is established on the Counterproposal.

These dates and deadlines might seem so overwhelming when reviewing the contract, but they all serve an important purpose. Read more about steps to buying a house, or steps to selling a house, or simply give me a call with your questions about buying and selling houses.

Real Estate Contract Dates & Deadlines Summary Chart

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